Ariana Grande has had a big year and a half. After releasing Sweetener in August of last year, she quickly followed it with Thank U, Next this past February. We were big fans of both here at Stereogum — we included Thank U, Next on our recent countdown of the best albums of 2019, while Sweetener ranked in our top 10 of 2018 as well as appearing in our big decade-spanning retrospective of the best albums of the entire 2010s. (We also counted songs from each amongst our personal favorites both last year and this year.) And now, before 2019 comes to a close, Ariana’s back with one more release to cap it all off.
In the middle of the night, Grande returned with the pseudo-surprise drop of K Bye For Now (SWT Live), a new live collection culled from the expansive tour she launched earlier this year following the rapid-fire release of the two sister albums. She had previously teased the release via Instagram last month, but we didn’t know any concrete details about when it might arrive. Turns out, it’s just in time for the holidays. Happy Hanukkah and/or merry Christmas, Arianators.
Clocking in at about 90 minutes across 32 tracks, K Bye For Now is dominated by material from Sweetener and Thank U, Next, but also features old favorites from her earlier albums, including “Dangerous Woman” and “Into You.” It features guest appearances from Childish Gambino, Big Sean, and Nicki Minaj. There was a whole lot of well-publicized struggle and setbacks in Grande’s life preceding the era of these albums, and continuing on through them. But it sounds like the tour, in the end, resulted in triumph, and now Grande gets to tie a bow around it all with a little victory lap. Check it out below.
K Bye For Now (SWT Live) is out now via Republic Records.